The Department has a range of work in hand to support the national health service in delivering this target. Strategic health authorities (SHAs) actively performance manage primary care trusts (PCTs) to ensure they have arrangements in place to ensure delivery. All PCTs are monitored on their progress towards achieving the target. The target is included within the Local Delivery Plan Agreements between SHA and PCTs (which are reviewed quarterly through a data return).
The Department does not collect this information centrally.
Chapter 7 of the “Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework,” published in 2000, issued appropriate guidance to the national health service about the provision of cardiac rehabilitation services. Putting this into practice is a matter for the NHS, working in partnership with stakeholders and the local community. It is the responsibility of NHS organisations to plan, monitor and develop these services based on their specific local knowledge and expertise.
A new national Cardiac Rehabilitation Audit has been introduced across England, jointly sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and the Healthcare Commission. This will provide stronger evidence on effectiveness and encourage local areas to appraise and improve their provision of cardiac rehabilitation.
(2) what the procedure is for the reconfiguration of local health services.
Proposals for the reconfiguration of services are a matter for the national health service locally, working in conjunction with clinicians, patients and other stakeholders. The interim report on the NHS Next Stage Review recommends that change should only be initiated when there is a clear and strong clinical basis for doing so.
Reconfiguration proposals are currently subject to a three-month public consultation. The outcome is then subject to scrutiny by local authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees (OSCs), comprising elected councillors.
Where OSCs are unhappy with the consultation process, or do not believe that the changes being proposed are in the interests of the local health service, they can refer the proposals to the Secretary of State for final decision.
On 4 July 2007, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) announced that he would seek the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, established to advise on contested service change proposals, on all cases referred to him by OSCs.
Very few local reconfiguration decisions are referred to the Secretary of State but such scrutiny will ensure that proposals are made in the best interest of clinical need and patient care.